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WHEN the hounds of spring are on winter's traces,

The mother of months in meadow or plain
Fills the shadows and windy places

With lisp of leaves and ripple of rain;
And the brown bright nightingale amorous
Is half assuaged for Itylus,
For the Thracian ships and the foreign faces,

The tongueless vigil, and all the pain.

Come with bows bent and with emptying of quivers,

Maiden most perfect, lady of light,
With a noise of winds and many rivers,

With a clamour of waters, and with might;
Bind on thy sandals, O thou most fleet,
Over the splendour and speed of thy feet;
For the faint east quickens, the wan west shivers,

Round the feet of the day and the feet of the night.

Where shall we find her, how shall we sing to her,

Fold our hands round her knees, and cling?
O that man's heart were as fire and could spring to her,

Fire, or the strength of the streams that spring!
For the stars and the winds are unto her
As raiment, as songs of the harp-player;
For the risen stars and the fallen cling to her,

And the south-west wind and the west wind sing.



For winter's rains and ruins are over,

And all the season of snows and sins; The days dividing lover and lover,

The light that loses, the night that wins; And time remembered is grief forgotten, And frosts are slain, and flowers begotten, And in green underwood and cover

Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

The full streams feed on flower of rushes,

Ripe grasses trammel a travelling foot,
The faint fresh flame of the young year flushes

From leaf to flower, and flower to fruit;
And fruit and leaf are as gold and fire
And the oat is heard above the lyre,
And the hoofëd heel of a satyr crushes

The chesnut husk at the chesnut root,

And Pan by noon and Bacchus by night,

Fleeter of foot than the fleet-foot kid,
Follows with dancing and fills with delight

The Mænad and the Bassarid;
And soft as lips that laugh and hide
The laughing leaves of the trees divide,
And screen from seeing and leave in sight

The god pursuing, the maiden hid.

The ivy falls with the Bacchanal's hair

Over her eyebrows hiding her eyes;
The wild vine slipping down leaves bare

Her bright breast shortening into sighs;
The wild vine slips with the weight of its leaves,
But the berried ivy catches and cleaves
To the limbs that glitter, the feet that scare,
The wolf that follows, the fawn that flies.

Algernon Charles Swinburne,




FROM the forests and highlands

We come, we come;
From the river-girt islands,

Where loud waves are dumb
Listening to my sweet pipings.
The wind in the reeds and the rushes,

The bees on the bells of thyme,
The birds on the myrtle bushes,

The cicale above in the lime,

And the lizards below in the grass, Were as silent as ever old Tmolus was,

Listening to my sweet pipings.

Liquid Peneus was flowing,

And all dark Tempe lay
In Pelion's shadow, outgrowing

The light of the dying day,
Speeded by my sweet pipings.
The Sileni and Sylvans and Fauns,

And the Nymphs of the woods and waves,
To the edge of the moist river-lawns,

And the brink of the dewy caves, And all that did them attend and follow, Were silent with love,-as you now, Apollo,

With envy of my sweet pipings.

I sang of the dancing stars,

I sang of the dædal earth,
And of heaven, and the Giant wars,

And love, and death, and birth.



And then I changed my pipings,-
Singing how down the vale of Mænalus

I pursued a maiden, and clasped a reed:
Gods and men, we are all deluded thus;

It breaks in our bosom, and then we bleed.
All wept-as I think both ye now would,
If envy or age had not frozen your blood-
At the sorrow of my sweet pipings.

P. B. Shelley.



WHAT was he doing, the great god Pan,

Down in the reeds by the river?
Spreading ruin and scattering ban,
Splashing and paddling with hoofs of a goat,
And breaking the golden lilies afloat

With the dragon-fly on the river.


He tore out a reed, the great god Pan,

From the deep cool bed of the river:
The limpid water turbidly ran,
And the broken lilies a-dying lay,
And the dragon-fly had fled away,

Ere he brought it out of the river.

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High on the shore sat the great god Pan,

While turbidly flowed the river;
And hacked and hewed as a great god can,
With his hard bleak steel at the patient reed,
Till there was not a sign of the leaf indeed

To prove it fresh from the river.




He cut it short, did the great god Pan,

(How tall it stood in the river!)
Then drew out the pith, like the heart of a man,
Steadily from the outside ring,
And notched the poor, dry, empty thing

In holes, as he sat by the river.


“This is the way," laughed the great god Pan,

(Laughed while he sat by the river,)
“The only way, since gods began
To make sweet music, they could succeed."
Then, dropping his mouth to a hole in the reed,
He blew in power by the river.

Sweet, sweet, sweet, O Pan!

Piercing sweet by the river!
Blinding sweet, O great god Pan!
The sun on the hill forgot to die,
And the lilies revived, and the dragon-fly

Came back to dream on the river.

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Yet half a beast is the great god Pan,

To laugh as he sits by the river,
Making a poet out of a man:
The true gods sigh for the cost and pain,-
For the reed which grows nevermore again
As a reed with the reeds in the river.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

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